Here is an interview done with me by Forum and originally posted at:

Well this interview is with Jeff who is the owner of Aviva Directory

I would just like to thank him for taking part!

Q. Are you able to give us a short insight into your background?

I’m in my late 30s and live in Ottawa, Canada. I’ve been playing around on the internet for about 5 years now, but Aviva Directory is my first serious internet endeavour.

Q. How did the idea of Aviva Directory come to you?

I was submitting my websites to a lot of directories. I would often look at the directories that were supposed to be good and think I could do a better job.

Q. With Aviva Directory when could you tell that you was on to a “winner”

Well, that’s an interesting question because it really shows how my perspective has changed since I started Aviva Directory. Back then, I thought that building a directory would be a one-time effort. I originally planned to build up a good database, get some good backlinks and let things take off from there.

Now that I’ve been at it a while, I realize that a directory is something you need to work on every day, continually building it up. So, I don’t really like to think of it as a “winner” as then I’ll get lazy. I plan to keep working on Aviva directory every day for years to come.

Q. What promotion methods do you use?

Everything I can think of. I think promotion through other directories has worked well, as well as in the webmaster forums.

Q. It seems Aviva Directory has a massive financial backing. Do you think without the presence of the finances that Aviva Directory could not have got to where it is today? If so do you believe that having money when starting a site is recommended?

I’ve had experience with offline business and one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it takes so much less money to start a business than it does offline. In most offline businesses, it is hard to get started without tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of capital whereas online a few thousand dollars will normally suffice.

I do think that one of the best ways to launch a new website, be it a directory or any other kind of website, is to spend $2,000 to $3,000 in quality directory submissions. That builds a solid base upon which you can move forward.

You can build a successful website without having much money. It just takes longer and is more difficult.

Q. With so many directories, what do you see for the future of the directory industry?

There is always room for more directories. The more directories there are, the easier it is to build your backlinks. In fact, I think that there is a shortage of *quality* directories.

Q. Who do you think is your direct rival in the directory sector?

As I said, I think that there is a shortage of quality directories, so there really isn’t much rivalry in the industry. The fact that directory owners can get together and talk and help each other in a forum like yours shows how friendly the industry really is.

Two people I admire in the directory industry are Chris Hoffman (Alive Directory) and John Scott.

Q. In your view what are the benefits and disadvantages of running a directory?

Benefits: I’ve learned a lot about the internet and what sort of websites can make money and which ones don’t. Many websites that submitted a year or more ago to Aviva Directory no longer exist. Similarly, certain types of websites seem to be able to afford a lot of directory submissions.

Disadvantages: I think that Google has it in for directories and treats them more harshly than other types of websites.

Q. With many website owners now placing high level’s of attention to SEO, do you think that directories will have to evolve to keep up with the changes on the internet?

Yes. I think that directories are going to need to develop to the point that they’re useful to the general web surfer, and not just webmasters.

Q. What do you think are the main key points to a successful directory?

Editorial integrity. This means:

1. It hurts to refund a $74.95 featured listing, but if the website doesn’t deserve to be listed, it shouldn’t be. If too many bad quality websites get listed, not only will you hurt your directory’s reputation, but the search engines can detect this too and will de-index your directory.

2. Regularly checking websites. One of the most common things is for people to submit a quality website. Then, if you go back a month later, you find that they’ve replaced it with spam. You need a system in place to ensure that all your listings are reviewed on a regular basis.

3. Not just adding paid submissions. The reality is that there are a lot of quality websites that don’t do directory submissions. There are a lot of reasons for that – they may be a small non-profit and don’t have the funds; they may be a large corporation or government organization; or they may not rely on search engines for traffic. You need to scour the web actively looking for quality websites to add to your directory.

Q. How do you relax at the end of the day? Are you able to run a very successful directory and still have a personal life?

The day never ends! I get up at 7 a.m. and normally work until at least midnight or 1 a.m.

My personal life revolves around my family. I’m married with a 3-year-old son. I spend as much time with them as I can. My directory is named after my wife, Aviva, which means Spring. The graphic in the top right hand corner represents Spring.